Jerusalem Suburb Walking Tour, Jerusalem (Self Guided)

The center of Jerusalem spills over with religious and historical landmarks, museums and holy places. But there are also places worth visiting in neighborhoods away from the center. A Biblical Zoo, the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and others cannot be missed and must figure in the itinerary of each tourist. The following self-guided tour will lead you through some of these distant places which are nevertheless worth a visit:
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Jerusalem Suburb Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Jerusalem Suburb Walking Tour
Guide Location: Israel » Jerusalem (See other walking tours in Jerusalem)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 8.4 km
Author: vickyc
Yad VaShem Holocaust Memorial

1) Yad VaShem Holocaust Memorial (must see)

The Yad Vashem is a tribute to the Jewish people who were murdered during the Holocaust. It is the country’s official memorial to the six million plus people who died during that dark part of the history of WWII. In terms of size and depth, it is the world’s largest repository of information about the tragic event. It is also designed to be the nation’s official archive.

The institution was organized in 1953. The Knesset passed the law to allow the institution to be built. The plan was to let this place be a memorial to the people put to death by the Nazis during WWII. It is located on Har Hazikaron, which is a gently sloping hill on the west side of Jerusalem. It has many monuments, as well as a history museum, a center for Holocaust Research, and a national archive.

Some of the exhibits worth seeing are the Hall of Remembrance, the underground Children’s Memorial, the Valley of the Communities, the Memorial to the Deportees, and the Holocaust History Museum. The Yad Vashem documents are stored there. This archive piece holds 55 million papers and has collected around 100,000 photos. There are also films of testimonies of the survivors, which were shot to help historians have a permanent record of the event from the perspective of the people who lived through it. It is a part of the place that you will want to see.

The Yad Vashem School for Holocaust Studies is one of the biggest schools in the country. Each year, over 150,000 students take classes there. It is also visited, as a research facility, by thousands of educators each year.

Make sure you grab a map and an audio set (with headphones) available in every language.
There are also many displays of memorials outside, so don't forget to walk around inside the gardens.

Opening Hours:
Sun-Wed: 8:30am-5pm, Thu: 8:30am-8pm, Friday & holiday eves: 8:30am-2pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Mount Herzl

2) Mount Herzl (must see)

Mount Herzl is home to two of the most horrific and emotionally draining landmarks in all of Israel. The main location is the official burial site of many famous Zionists, Israeli politicians, and others who influenced the development of the State of Israel. Perhaps one of the most famous people interred here is Theodor Herzl. Yitzhak Rabin and Golda Meir have also been laid to rest close-by, among the beautiful trees, and quiet rolling hills.

Upon first look, one is impressed by the massive number of soldiers that are buried here. This is made worse by the fact that most died as teens. There is a rough organizational pattern to the place, which is based upon various wars fought by the country. The first section will take you through the burial place of the Veterans of the War of Independence. Many of the soldiers were only 15- or 16-years-old during the fierce fighting for the establishment of a Jewish homeland.

Yad VaShem – the state memorial to and museum of the Holocaust – is also located here.

Consider taking the light rail to the cemetery and then after following the self-guided tour, walk the short direct trail from the cemetery to Yad VaShem.

Opening Hours:
Sun-Thu: 4:45-8pm; Fri: 2-8pm; Sat: 9am-6pm
Sight description based on wikipedia

3) Hamifletzet

The “monster” or Hamifletzet is actually a playground sculpture that is located in Kiryat Yovel’s Rabinovich Park. The official name of the artwork is The Golem, but rarely is it called that. The sculpture is a slide that is made of concrete. The Golem was created by the Jewish-French artist Niki de Sainte Phalle who also did children’s playground art for the Biblical Zoo.

According to the artist, The Golem is supposed to represent a large woman who reigns over the park in a pleasant way. By doing this she manages to shatter the image of a fragile woman. Children come through a hole as they climb up the ladder and this is supposed to represent the birthing process.

While that may be too esoteric for some, the kids love the bright black and white sculpture with plenty of climbing space. As they come out of the big, bright red fleshy mouth of the sculpture, they have a choice of three bright red tongues to slide down to land in soft sand. So while some may call it a monster, the kids love the thing and several generations of children have spent carefree hours climbing and sliding here. While there are other rides here, and the grounds are beautiful and peaceful, this is definitely the centerpiece of the park.
Church of the Visitation

4) Church of the Visitation

The Church of the Visitation is so named because it is on the site that was traditionally thought to be the summer home of the parents of John the Baptist. This is located in the village of Ein Kerem or Judah, which is on the west side of Jerusalem. Mary made a trip to see her cousin Elizabeth. Little did she realize that both women were pregnant. Elizabeth would give birth to John the Baptist.

According to the accounting of Luke 1:40 in the New Testament; the baby in Elizabeth’s womb leapt for joy when she heard Mary. Mary stayed with Elizabeth until she gave birth to John and then she returned to her home.

The church that stands now was built in 1955 on top of ancient church remains and is Franciscan. The 5-cross is on top of the church and is the Franciscan’s symbol and it represents the five wounds that Jesus sustained during the crucifixion. A gorgeous mosaic is on the front of the building that shows Mary riding a donkey from Nazareth on her way to meet Elizabeth. She is accompanied on her journey by angels to guide her and the unborn child. Inside, there are equally beautiful paintings of various Biblical scenes. There is also the well that John and his family would have gotten water from.

Visitation is free and the hours are from 9am-12am and again from 2pm to 4pm.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Church of Saint John the Baptist

5) Church of Saint John the Baptist

The Church of Saint John the Baptist is located in the Christian quarter of Jerusalem. There is another church of the same name on the Mount of Olives so don’t get confused. This is the one that has the beautiful silver dome. It was built originally around 450 CE, probably to house the relics of John the Baptist that was distributed to various holy cities.

The church was destroyed by the Persians in 614 and lay in ruins until the 11th century CE. At that time the church was rebuilt over its old foundation and has remained essentially unchanged for the last 1,000 years. It became the home of the Knights Hospitallers. Knights that were wounded in the Crusades were nursed back to health here and some remained to carry on the work of healing the injured and protected pilgrims to the Holy Land.

The Church might have been a mosque for a brief period of time, but has almost always been in the hands of the Greek Orthodox Church. The crypt that is under the church was one time left in ruin but was rediscovered in the 19th century. There was a lovely reliquary that was discovered in the crypt that is now housed in the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate Museum.

The church is not regularly open; however, if there is a priest there from the Greek Orthodox monastery, he will gladly open it for visitors.
Mexico Park

6) Mexico Park

Mexico Park is a fun park for kids. It is called Mexico Park as it has a playground with a Mexican sombrero at the top. There are amazing sculptures in the park.
Biblical Zoo

7) Biblical Zoo (must see)

This establishment has had several different names and locations over the years. The correct name for the current facility is The Tisch Family Zoological Gardens in Jerusalem, but it is still known as the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo. It is one of the top five most visited attractions in Jerusalem and has a very successful endangered species breeding program.

The original zoo opened in 1940 and was the brainchild of Aharon Shulov who was a professor of zoology at Hebrew University. The idea was to have a place where people could come and see the animals that were mentioned in the Bible. However, problems emerged almost immediately. Some animals that were mentioned in the Bible were long since extinct in Israel while others had ambiguous names. Also, the neighbors were unhappy with the smell and noise, not to mention the possibility of wild animals escaping in neighborhoods.

The zoo moved to a new site in 1941 and was placed on a 1-acre lot. Complaints abounded here too and the zoo was again moved in 1947 to Mount Scopus in land donated by the University. Unfortunately, the Arab-Israeli War cut off the animals from their steady food supply and many of them died. In 1949 the UN helped move the animals to a 15-acre lot. The number of animals had dwindled from 122 to 5. The zoo slowly rebuilt and became very popular with the community. Religious groups that normally did not socialize could peacefully coexist in the zoo – the animals seemed to have a rather healing effect.

In 1993 the zoo was moved to its present location with the mission to appeal to the secular and religious families in the region. The zoo remains a huge favorite and now boasts over 2,000 animals over 270 different species. In a brilliant arrangement, the fruits and vegetables that feed all the animals are given to the zoo for free. During Passover the entire zoo is chametz-free and the animals are given matzo to eat rather than leavened bread products, while birds are fed rice.

Be aware that you need to be rather fit to see the whole zoo, as there is a lot of walking to do, and half of it is uphill...
If you like to enjoy quietness, come in the morning hours during the work week to avoid crowds.

Opening Hours:
Sun-Thu: 9am-5pm, Fridays & holiday eves: 9am-4:30pm, Saturday & holidays: 10am-5pm
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Jerusalem, Israel

Create Your Own Walk in Jerusalem

Create Your Own Walk in Jerusalem

Creating your own self-guided walk in Jerusalem is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Mount Scopus and Surroundings Walking Tour

Mount Scopus and Surroundings Walking Tour

Jerusalem is surrounded by hills. Mount Scopus, in the northeast of the city, offers the most splendid view of the Old City of Jerusalem. Its most visited landmarks are Ammunition Hill, a memorial of a great battle, the Hebrew University campus, with its botanical garden and amphitheater, a military cemetery and a few others. This self-guided tour will lead you to the following Mount Scopus...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 km
Mount Zion and Surroundings Walking Tour

Mount Zion and Surroundings Walking Tour

Mount Zion, as many other places in Jerusalem, is a biblical site. This name was mentioned in manuscripts dating back to the first millennium BC. It was called the Town of David and David s tomb is here. This self-guided tour will lead you to the biblical sites of Mount Zion and other modern attractions in its surroundings.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.4 km
Souvenir Shopping Part 1

Souvenir Shopping Part 1

It would be a pity to leave Jerusalem without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Jerusalem, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 km
Jerusalem Synagogues Walking Tour

Jerusalem Synagogues Walking Tour

Jerusalem is a city that represents the three main religions of the world, that is Christianity, Judaism and Islam. The city contains some of the oldest and most beautiful historical monuments related to these religions. This self-guided tour will lead you mainly through the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem and its synagogues:

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.5 km
Jerusalem Jaffa Road Walking Tour

Jerusalem Jaffa Road Walking Tour

Jaffa Road is the oldest and longest street in Jerusalem. There are many museums, shops, restaurants, and art galleries that line this street. The famous Jerusalem pedestrian malls are all located on the intersections of this street. This self-guided tour will lead you through the most visited landmarks on this street:

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 km
Mount of Olives Walking Tour of Jerusalem

Mount of Olives Walking Tour of Jerusalem

The Mount of Olives is on the east side of the Old City of Jerusalem. Here you will see the magnificent churches that are also biblical sites, a very old cemetery with tombs of the Prophets. For many people this is a holy place as God is always present here. The following self-guided tour will lead you through the Mount of Olives landmarks:

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

16 Uniquely Israel Things to Buy in Jerusalem

16 Uniquely Israel Things to Buy in Jerusalem

Modern day Jerusalem is a mosaic of neighborhoods, reflecting different historical periods, cultures, and religions. The influx of repatriates in recent years has made the cultural and artisanal scene of the city even more colourful and diverse. To find your way through Jerusalem's intricate...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Jerusalem for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Jerusalem has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes

To save yourself time and money visiting Jerusalem's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as the Jerusalem City Pass by Ticketbar, Jerusalem City Pass by Musement, or Jerusalem City Pass by Viator.

A city pass combines all Jerusalem's top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows user to skip lines at major attractions, thus saving precious time.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels

Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Jerusalem hotels conveniently located for a comfortable stroll: Leonardo Plaza Hotel Jerusalem, The David Citadel Hotel, Prima Kings Hotel.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Jerusalem, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours

We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of Jerusalem typically costs somewhere between US$10+ and US$90 per person:

- Embark on a self-balancing Segway tour of Jerusalem – this usually lasts around 2 hours and allows visitors to get a real sense of the city. Most people (even those aged 70+) find it quite fun and convenient, enabling to cover much more ground than you otherwise could have done by walking.

- Provoke your contemplating eternal matters on a mixed (coach and walking) tour of Jerusalem, the city where the ancient and religious are intertwined more than anywhere else in the world. With the help of an expert guide try and perceive the profound meaning and context behind the holy Christian and Jewish sites of Old and New Jerusalem.

- Visit the places that once saw Jesus Christ in flesh, feel the tales of the Bible become real on a walking tour of Jerusalem led by a knowledgeable local guide. Walk the stones of Via Dolorosa in the footsteps of the Messiah to his crucifixion and learn more about that pivotal day in human history.

- Explore the city of three religions through the eyes of Jewish, Christian and Muslim worshipers on a 4-hour guided walk of Old Jerusalem to the holy places and landmarks revered in Islam, Judaism and Christianity, and learn about the religious beliefs associated with them.

- Tantalize your taste buds with the scents and sights of exotic delicacies fit to arouse anyone's appetite on a 3-hour guided tour of Mahane Yehuda, Jerusalem’s biggest outdoor market! Explore the city's favorite marketplace in its variety.

- Descend into the unknown, at least until recently, deep beneath the ground to explore the ancient roots of Jerusalem on a 1.5-hour guided tour through the centuries-old tunnel dating back to the times of the Second Temple. Get a chance to touch and hear about some truly incredible artifacts found here, and more.

Day Trips

If you have a full or half day to spare whilst in Jerusalem, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations like Bethlehem and Jericho, Masada and the Dead Sea, Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee, or the West Bank. For as little as as circa US$100 to US$125 per person you will get a chance to experience first-hand the ancient and Biblical treasures, discover fascinating religious history, see the fabled Biblical and Nativity sites, scenes of the New Testament stories including places where Jesus performed miracles, plus explore legendary ruins, and so much more. For any of these tours you will be picked up either straight from your hotel or a designated place in Jerusalem, and transported either by a comfortable air-conditioned coach, minibus or a private vehicle to the destination of your choice and back again.